AP: Private prisons profit from illegal immigrants (AP) MIAMI - The U.S. is locking up more illegal immigrants than ever, generating lucrative profits for the nation's largest prison companies, and an Associated Press review shows the businesses have spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying lawmakers and contributing to campaigns.
By putting prisoners to work and paying them competitive wages, many private companies are reducing prison costs for the government by withholding earnings for taxes, room and board, Family support, and victim's compensation. Such employment also gives prisoners the skills and work experience that will prepare them for the job market when they are released.
Private business has become increasingly interested in prison labor during the past decade. Prompted by state and federal measures lifting restrictions to private sector use of prison labor, some eleven states contract out the work of an estimated 1,000 convicts. Over twenty firms, ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations, provide jobs for inmates. For instance, Best Western International, Inc, a major hotel chain, employs over thirty Arizona prison workers to operate the hotel's telephone reservation system. Since the Best Western program began in 1981, inmates have paid $182,000 in taxes, contributed over $187,000 to the state for room and board, and paid at least $112,000 in Family support. Similarly, Trans World Airlines, Inc. hires young offenders from the Ventura Center Training School in California to handle over the phone flight reservations. The inmates have paid a total of $13,000 in taxes, $15,000 for room and board, and $11,000 to victims for restitution.
In most cases, the state correctional system provides the working facility for the private firm. The firm manages and trains the inmates and releases their earnings to the care of the state. The wage rates, in most instances, are negotiated between the state agency and the private firm. .:etc:.
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